Silmarillion Project Part 5: Chapter 1 - “Of the Beginning of Days”
- Part 1: “Ainulindalë - The Music of the Ainur”
- Part 2: “Valaquenta - Account of the Valar and Maiar in according to the lore of the Eldar”
- Part 3: “The Monsters of Middle-Earth”
- Part 4: “The Free Peoples of the First Age”
We’re finally into the Silmarillion proper! Chapter 1 deals with the details of the shaping of Arda (Earth). In the beginning, the Valar attempted to assemble Arda, but were constantly at odds with Melkor, who warred against them to a standstill. This persisted until the last of the Valar, Tulkas, descended into Arda as well, and together they managed to scare Melkor off for the time being.
What followed was an era of peace, and to light the world (in addition to the stars), the Valar constructed two titanic lamps at opposite ends of Arda. In the middle, they resided on the Isle of Almaren, which I’ve illustrated above, along with one of the lamps. In the foreground is Tulkas himself, ever vigilant.
Melkor ultimately returned while Tulkas slept and toppled the lamps. The destruction was so devastating that Arda itself was deformed, and the Valar retreated to the Western continent of Aman, leaving Middle-Earth to the dark powers.
Notes: I find the character of Tulkas pretty fascinating, as he’s initially the only member of the Valar who entered Arda because there was a conflict, not to contribute to the building of the world. He is also one of the only Valar never to be duped by Melkor, as he seems to have at least a moderate understanding of evil (a rare trait among the Valar). Here I’ve depicted him mostly in silhouette, along with some vaguely humanoid Valar in the distance.